The Liberating Curse – 2

or Sword Swallowers


Part 1 is here.

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” (Matthew 20:20-23)

When we say “Amen,” we’d better mean it. It is a reception of the Covenant, binding us to it legally for better or worse. Ray Sutton writes:

The covenant is established by the reception of these sanctions through an oath before witnesses. First, the oath has dual sanctions, blessing and cursing, giving the covenant terms of unconditionality.

When the Bible speaks of faith, it means faithfulness. Man is required to persevere! If he fails to do so, the oath that God takes on Himself will hit the participant in the form of a curse. Along with the terms of unconditionality, the covenant is both promissory and legal. Grace and law are not in conflict.

Second, the oath is received through the consignment of a selfmaledictory oath. God pledges Himself to the participants, attaching blessings and cursings. When man places his “amen” on the covenant,
he receives what God has done. He says “amen” through certain symbols, and has them applied to his household.

Finally, witnesses are required for the ratification of the covenant. The witnesses are heavenly and earthly when the covenant is cut. They verify that an actual covenant has been created. Without them, the covenant is not official. [1]

Sutton also comments that animal sacrifices were only a temporary means of averting the malediction of God. In the Covenant with Abraham, the Lord promised His own eventual judgment. But, of course, that’s not where it ends. That’s just where it begins to get interesting.

In the Revelation, Jesus has a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His mouth. We know this is His Word, but that is a typically short-sighted modern interpretation. James Jordan sees it as something far more interesting: an “inverted realisation of the self-maledictory oath.”

In other words, He swallowed the sword-water in place of the unfaithful bride. [2] Being totally faithful, the sword that went into the sacrifice to cut it is now coming out of the resurrected body. This is inherent in the Bible Matrix pattern. At Passover, we are under the sword but it slays the substitute instead (Exodus). At Atonement, we are under the sword again, but it is a knighthood (Joshua). It was angels who slew the firstborn in Egypt, but in Joshua the sword was given to men. Men did the slaying, and not just the firstborn: every man, woman, child and animal in Jericho was to be slaughtered, being the “firstfruits” of the Land.

At Pentecost, the disciples became apostles when they passed under the sword, tongues of flame. Then Revelation presents them as warriors with flames coming out of their mouths (Revelation 9:17-18). They went on to liberate Jerusalem, saving only “Rahab” and her family.

How does all this apply to us?

Firstly, at salvation we are baptized into Jesus’ death. We swallow the sword. The Word cuts us to the heart and we die. But we die with a heart that is circumcised. We are united with the Head and enthroned with Christ. Then, and only then, can we be united with—baptized into—the body. This is our promise of resurrection. We become part of God’s government of elders on earth. Infant baptism is thus unnatural—a breach birth.

Secondly, in our worship service, our corporate confession and forgiveness is where we pass under the sword. This is our baptism into Jesus’ death. After Communion–our corporate “resurrection”—we are again handed the sword to preach to every creature. The sword coming out of our mouths is not the Law of Moses. The self-maledictory oath, our Amen, has been inverted. It is the Law slain and resurrected, the Spirit-Law of the Gospel that cuts men to the heart, circumcising them. The Spirit fills them. But it also slays everyone without the mark of the Man in linen. It is the “liberating curse.”

We see the same thing in Zechariah 5, concerning the flying scroll. Peter Leithart writes:

Verse 3 is difficult to translate, and is somewhat surprising.  The scroll represents, the angel says, the curse going throughout the land, but the effect of the curse in verse 3 is not negative and destructive but purgative.  Everyone who steals, the angel says, will be “freed” or “exempted.”  The verb means “be innocent” (Judges 15:2) or “remain unpunished” (Jeremiah 25:29).  At times, it can have a more negative connotation – a city is “freed” of people in Isaiah 3:28.  But the general use suggests a redemptive theme: This is a liberating curse. [3]

Just as the Lord set the captives free from Babylonian idolatry, Jesus also came to set the captives free. He made the harlot drink the cup to the dregs. The process wasn’t finished until the animal sacrifices, carried on by defiant Jews, were ended forever in the destruction of the Herods’ “house” in AD70. Amen.

Sabbath – “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD
has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor;

……….Passover – He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
……….to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening
……….of the prison to those who are bound;

………………..Firstfruits – To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
………………..and the day of vengeance of our God;

…………………………Pentecost (the Spirit) – To comfort all who mourn,
…………………………to console those who mourn in Zion,

………………..Trumpets (resurrection) – To give them beauty for ashes,
………………..The oil of joy for mourning,

……….Atonement – The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

Booths – That they may be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” [4]

[1] Ray Sutton, That You May Prosper, pp. 94-95.
[2] See Jesus With Long Hair.
[3] Peter Leithart, Zechariah 5:1-4.
[4] The reason Jesus did not read this whole passage is NOT because it was going to take over 2000 years to fulfil upon the Jews. He probably did read the whole passage. Luke possibly leaves the rest out because the remainder of the account follows the same pattern as first century history. See Totus Christus p. 323-324 to see what I mean. And see here for more on Jesus and the scroll.

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